Tonal Painting

Ref: C2341763

A range of tonal exercises and small studies will precede painting one or two canvases. The aim is to develop a greater sensitivity to the many aspects of tone. How to achieve both dramatic contrast and also subtle use of tonal relationships will be taught – each is relevant according to your aim. In addition, ways to incorporate collage into painting to create further tonal complexities will also be included. Oils, acrylics or watercolour are appropriate for this course. PowerPoint presentations and access to many art reproductions will support this practical course whilst facilitating group discussion and enabling each individual to determine their development within the group course. The last session will be a field trip to the tutor’s solo exhibition which is very much to do with tonal relationships. This session comprises a brief discussion about the pots and paintings, followed by practical work on site.

Course aim

This course develops the ability to achieve balanced tonal relationships within a painting. One which is intended to have sensitivity and subtle nuance will benefit from a refined sense of tone.

Do I need any particular skills or experience?

  • This course is for improvers
  • Some prior experience in painting in oils, acrylics or watercolour is necessary as how to handle paints and materials isn't the main focus.

By the end of the course I should be able to:

  • Be able to perform exercises and studies using gradations of tone
  • Be able to perform exercises in mixing low-intensity complementary colours
  • Transfer skills from exercises into a finished painting
  • Demonstrate ability to create collaged paintings using a wide variety of tones
  • Be able to make small tonal studies and sketches from original works in an exhibition

How will I be taught?

  • The WEA tutor will use a range of different teaching and learning methods and encourage you and the group to be actively involved in your learning
  • You may be asked to undertake additional work in your own time to support your learning
  • This course is designed to accommodate the needs of both experienced learners and relative beginners. Learning through doing via chosen tonal exercises/studies. PowerPoints, posters and books to stimulate discussion and to inspire personal development. There will be one field trip to Cha

What kind of feedback can I expect?

  • You will have opportunities to discuss your progress with your tutor
  • You will be encouraged to share your work with the group and discuss your learning
  • You will be encouraged to consider other students work and give your opinions and suggestions
  • 1:1 tuition, optional presentation of work in progress to the group, sometimes specific material brought in for an individual learner.

What else do I need to know?

  • It would be helpful if you had access to the internet (Mobile phone, tablet or computer at home or through a library etc.)
  • Paints: oils / acrylics / watercolour / l – plus appropriate equipment such as linseed oil, turps, white spirit and brushes, palette, or fixative spray for pastels Surfaces to paint on to, e.g. canvas / mdf /watercolour paper / pastel paper for finished painting and a small block of cartridge p

Pre-course work, reading and information sources

  • No pre reading is required but research on the subject on the internet or in the library may be helpful

What can I do next?

  • Progress to another WEA course
  • Progress to a course with another provider
  • Become involved with the WEA in a range of voluntary work and other activities including campaigning as a WEA member
  • Become involved as a volunteer for a WEA partner or another organisation
  • You could progress to Higher Education courses. Follow link to the PEARL website for information
  • Access the WEA What Next? booklet here
  • Progression may be sought via Foundation at Loughborough University School of Art and Design, or through the Richard Attenborough Centre in Leicester University.

Download full course information sheet

Tonal Painting


As a registered charity, and to meet our funders’ requirements, we need to check a few things with you before you book. Please could we ask that you check the list below to ensure you meet our basic criteria:

  • You are paying the standard fee (with a credit or debit card) or you are on any of the qualifying benefits
  • You have a valid email address so that you can receive confirmation of your booking
  • You have been resident in the UK, EU or EEA for the last 3 years
  • You are aged 19 years or older on 1st September 2019
  • You have read and accept our standard terms and conditions

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